Which Fortune 500 HQ Will Be First to Utilize 5G?
As 5G is deployed across the world, companies are increasingly looking to how the technology could make an impact in their own offices. In 2019, there were 134 Fortune 500 companies in the United States and Canada all facing new opportunities and challenges associated with the introduction of 5G in their facilities.
Corporate headquarters represent a category of “use place” (as opposed to “use case”), a physical location where we can expect 5G to gain early traction. This will power businesses to operate faster, smarter and more efficiently, ensuring they’re not left behind by their competitors.
Over the past few years, two trends stand out when it comes to company headquarters: offices are transitioning to a wireless workplace environment, replacing Ethernet as the primary connectivity method; and accelerating their focus on innovation to remain relevant in a digital future.
While 5G is an important tool in increasing speed and connectivity within the office, it’s also important to note the role a 5G network can play in building an innovation launch point. The platform will offer stronger connections between devices, networks and applications than anything we have seen in the past – paving the way for streamlined processes, communication and efficiency. With stronger connections, companies are positioned to not only work more smoothly and quickly, freed from hardwired connections, but also innovate their core business operations.
To be a 5G player, companies need early access to the technology to experiment with how 5G can be used. With that access, companies will be able to fully realize both sides of the 5G innovation potential – improved customer offerings, as well as improved business processes.
2019 has been a transformative year for 5G platforms, with mobile network operators building out the infrastructure to provide fixed wireless access and enhanced mobile broadband applications for their customers. As 5G becomes available in more and more cities across the country, it is increasingly important that companies start to build their own infrastructure to implement 5G to ensure they are not left behind – and their own corporate headquarters is a great place to start.
Ericsson recently surveyed 940 corporations and found that of the priorities associated with 5G, companies identified first-mover advantage at the top of the list. The survey also found that 74 percent of respondents wanted to create a first-mover advantage, while 54 percent stated they wanted to leverage 5G to boost their innovation image, and 53 percent saw it as critical for their digital transformation. Due to the strong business value of first-mover advantage, companies will need to act quickly to keep up with competitors.
Companies will also need a proactive agenda to secure a 5G “place case” at their headquarters, or risk falling behind the market and missing the chance to build upon insights that could have been identified early on from risk-free use case testbeds.
How does it affect you?
While most standard companies will not have 5G in their headquarters by 2020, Fortune 500 companies have the resources to put 5G-powered headquarters within their reach.
Due to this, we can expect network operators to seek out partnership with Fortune 500 companies to build and boost their innovation agenda, and to showcase the advantages of 5G for the operators. We can also expect for network providers to compete for corporate traction in the installation of these facilities due to the high demand to be the sole provider of 5G service for the company.
In order to take first-mover advantage, companies should request access to a 5G testbed. This will allow them to build use cases for 5G in their business and draw insights from testing and establishing an effective 5G network. This will in turn, secure a full-fledged 5G platform across the company’s campus. It will also empower a “use place” where innovators can test in real-life conditions, allowing for advances that will take the wireless workplace to the next level.
We can additionally expect corporations to explore different business models, where some will tap a single network partner and others to leveraging multi-vendor strategies across their campuses to test efficiency and cost.
The bottom line
Companies that take advantage of leveraging the benefits of 5G will reap the rewards, allowing more time to master the network’s learning curve and boosting innovations for operations and customer offerings, as LTE networks and Wi-Fi continues to complement 5G for non-performance critical applications.
A company’s headquarters can serve as a testing ground for the potential of 5G, making day-to-day operations more efficient and flexible while allowing the piloting of new business operations. With an innovation platform powered by 5G in place, the only limit will be your employees' imaginations.
— Peter Linder, 5G Evangelist for North America, Ericsson
This content is sponsored by Ericsson.